Kristen Walker


There is no doubt that access to constitutional justice in Australia is limited. A combination of relatively restrictive standing rules and financial constraints means many people who have an interest (but perhaps not a ‘special interest’) in ensuring compliance with the Constitution are precluded from bringing legal proceedings to do so. Expanding the ability of persons or groups to participate in constitutional litigation as amici (as opposed to broadening standing rules) is one way to expand access to constitutional justice. But we need to bear in mind that an amicus cannot institute litigation – an amicus can only seek to join existing litigation.

Nonetheless, allowing more participation in existing constitutional matters would go some way to redressing the problem of access to justice. Certainly there are interested persons and groups who are shut out of existing constitutional litigation because they are not a party and do not have standing (or the financial ability) to intervene.